The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention survey that the state administers every two years, “Washington State’s Healthy Youth Survey,” did not happen last year due to the pandemic. That means there has been a lack of mental health data about the youth of Jefferson County.
In response, the Benji Project stepped up to give a voice to the seemingly forgotten demographic, recently facilitating an independent survey to assess local teens’ mental health during the pandemic.
This spring the organization — in collaboration with Jefferson County’s Community Health Improvement Plan, Port Townsend High School, and Chimacum High School — conducted the survey among teens. The questionnaire dealt with mental health markers and covered questions such as thoughts about suicide, as well as how they fared during the pandemic.
The survey results were analyzed with help from the University of Washington’s StatCom Group.
Tenth-graders reported a range of experiences related to the pandemic. The majority of students reported that their current mental health was the same or better compared to before the pandemic. When asked to share about the effects of the pandemic on themselves and their family, many described the impact of remote school. Some described this as positive, and others as negative.
Visit the benjiproject.org to view their video.